Egypt at forefront of liver cancer care with Roche partnership

Ahram Online , Sunday 28 May 2023

The Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population on Saturday signed an MoU with Roche, a Swiss multinational healthcare company, to improve medical care under the Presidential Initiative of Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC).

Minister of Health and Population during MoU signing ceremony with Swiss healthcare company Roche
Minister of Health and Population during MoU signing ceremony with Swiss healthcare company Roche on Saturday to support early liver cancer detection and treatment. Photo courtesy of the ministry


HCC, also known as liver cancer, is one of the most common cancers worldwide.

The collaboration with the Swiss company aims to strengthen diagnostic capabilities for liver fibrosis and early detection of liver tumours. In addition, the partnership will focus on developing 20 injection centres that provide primary care services for liver cancer patients, according to the ministry's official spokesperson, Hossam Abdel Ghaffar.

During the signing of the MoU, Minister of Health Khaled Abdel Ghaffar stressed that Egypt is currently witnessing significant advances in the field of treatment programmes for liver cancer. These developments are part of a larger effort to promote equity and equality by providing the best and most advanced treatments worldwide.

He stressed the need to continuously build national capacity and promote collaboration between Egyptian experts and international partners to create an integrated standard system for diagnosis and treatment.

The minister also pointed to the medical, social, and economic burden Egypt has been experiencing for years due to widespread infection with the hepatitis C virus.

However, Egyptian efforts to combat the virus have been successful, leading to a change in classification from a country with the highest infection rates in the world to the first country in the world to receive international certification for the elimination of the hepatitis C virus, Abdel Ghaffar said.

The HCC initiative was launched in Egypt in March 2022 as an extension of the national initiative to screen for hepatitis C virus and non-communicable diseases. This effort is part of the larger presidential initiative "100 Million Healthy Lives," which aims to ensure a comprehensive, effective and robust system to detect liver cancer, prevent complications and reduce deaths from liver disease.

Abdel Ghaffar told Ahram that 1,200 patients with primary liver tumours are currently undergoing treatment.

He added that 200,000 patients with liver fibrosis are being treated and followed up as part of the "100 Million Health Initiative". According to figures from WHO in 2019, Egypt has one of the largest hepatitis C epidemics in the world with nearly 40,000 people dying each year from liver failure and liver cancer related to the disease.

According to 2020 figures from the Global Observatory Cancer (Globocan), liver cancer cases in Egypt account for 20.7 percent of total cancer cases, or 134,632 cases.


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